By Madina Toure
The state Department of Environmental Conservation announced that clean-up action is set to begin at an existing brownfield at the Waterpointe site in Whitestone.
The clean-up activity for the 18-acre site at 151-45 6th Road where 52 single-family homes will be built is designed to excavate and remove contaminated soil. It was added to the site and will then be disposed of at off-site disposal facilities or at a beneficial reuse facility for the recycling of dangerous waste, according to a fact sheet prepared by the DEC.
Edgestone Group LLC, the site’s owner, will perform the cleanup activities with DEC oversight.
In 2008, the Bayrock Group bought the site for $25 million. The company was fined $150,000 by the DEC because it was filling the contaminated soil at the site with newly contaminated soil.
After Bayrock went bankrupt, the Edgestone Group purchased the site in 2011 for $11.3 million and applied to build 52 homes and a public waterfront park on the site.
Joe Sweeney, chairman of Community Board 7’s land use committee for the Waterpointe site, said Edgestone will have to notify the community, including the schools in the area, of the route the trucks carrying the existing contaminated soil will be using.
He commended the DEC for following up on the brownfield cleanup at the site.
“It’s the state regulation, it’s state-monitored to some extent,” Sweeney said. “Because of the previous owner’s prior history, we’re going to ask them to monitor the site more efficiently.”
Joseph Sultana, an architect representing Edgestone, said all details on the brownfield cleanup program are available at the Whitestone branch of the Queens Library at 151-10 14th Road.
Once the trucks are cleaned, they will drive along 6th Road to the intersection of Clintonville Street, then take the Cross Island Service Road and head onto the Whitestone Bridge after which the materials would be delivered to sites in New Jersey, he said.
The remediation work plan includes dust control and ensuring groundwater does not spread from the property into adjacent properties or the water.
“As part of the protocol from DEC…all the records and all of the information is made public and it’s all being recorded at the Whitestone Library,” Sultana said. “It’s public knowledge. Anybody can go read it.”
In November 2015, CB7 recommended that the site be downzoned specifically for residential homes and said the developer did not provide a deed restriction ensuring only homes are built at the site. At the time, Sultana said they provided the deed restriction but were told the deed restriction was not good enough.
In June 2010, the DEC approved a remedial work plan for the site and the remediation was done.
In 2012, the DEC and EBI Consulting, the court-appointed receiver, entered into a consent order to investigate, remove and properly dispose of unapproved materials brought to the site as well as any pre-existing materials that were mixed and combined with the unapproved materials.
Once Edgestone completes the cleanup activities, it will prepare a final engineering report and submit to the DEC. The report will outline the cleanup activities completed and certify that cleanup requirements have been completed or will be completed.
When the DEC determines that cleanup requirements have been fulfilled or will be accomplished, it will approve the report and issue a completion certificate to Edgestone. At that point, Edgestone can redevelop the site.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour